Being a custom integration company is more than just providing state-of-the-art entertainment and control solutions for clients. In our corporate mission statement, we define our role as a custom electronics firm that improves the entertainment, security, and comfort of our clients’ homes. It is this last benefit, one of providing enhanced home comfort, that has seen some of the greatest innovation over the last couple of years–led by the success of the Nest intelligent thermostat introduced in late 2011.
The Nest thermostat is an elegantly designed product that we can easily add to the home’s digital network and HVAC system, and has a wide variety of control options. We can control the home’s temperature from the thermostat, from an app, remotely, and now by voice. And it has sensors and algorithms built in to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of our clients’ homes.
Rheem’s Wi-Fi-enabled water heaters are designed to work with an integrated home system to reduced hot water production at times when no one’s home.
The Nest thermostat also became the foundation of a home comfort and control platform called the Works with Nest program. Just as we have our traditional total home control platforms from Crestron, Savant, Control4, and several others, Nest offers a platform of automation and control centered on its thermostat. The difference with Nest is that we have to do very little custom programming to offer a significant amount of automation that enhances the comfort of our clients’ homes while reducing their heating/cooling consumption and bills. Works with Nest solutions should not be considered a threat to our traditional methods of customized total home control, but as complementary to these efforts.
The Works with Nest program now has several hundred partners that leverage the Nest thermostat’s temperature sensing and home occupancy information. As an example, the Haiku ceiling fan from Big Ass Fans adjusts its speed as summer temperatures rise in the home, and moves more slowly in the winter to push warm air down, reducing the heater’s workload. This intelligent energy saving capability can complement the energy saving features of a Lutron lighting control and motorized shade installation, for example. Here are a few additional intelligent home comfort solutions to consider for your clients:
Intelligent Registers: Intelligent registers are another solution for comfort control that we can now offer our clients. Companies such as Ecovent and Keen offer smart vents that create an intuitive room-zoned HVAC system that proactively balances the home’s temperature. Placing these smart vents throughout the home creates a balanced temperature system that enhances comfort room by room. Smart vent built-in sensors wirelessly communicate with one another, as well as other smart devices, to regulate and redirect airflow where needed.
Intelligent Electric Floor Heating Systems: NuHeat, now a division of Pentair, offers intelligent electric floor heating systems to react to home occupancy. Instead of strictly following the programmed schedule, the floor heat will adapt automatically when your clients arrive or leave home earlier or later than scheduled. When NuHeat Signature works with Nest, homeowners can enjoy the added comfort and energy savings with their floor heat. Staying home on a workday? The floor heat will remain on to keep you comfortable. Leaving home earlier or arriving home later than expected? The floor heat will reduce the temperature to save energy.
Intelligent Home Water Heating Systems: Rheem Econet is an intelligent water heating system that can automatically reduce the tank’s hot water temperature. Most water heaters work continuously. With EcoNet, you can set your heater to reduce hot water production at times when your client is away with Vacation Mode, or automatically when the Nest thermostat detects the home is unoccupied.
These are only a few of the innovative ways that traditional and new companies in the residential HVAC market are adding network connectivity, sensors, and intelligent algorithms to improve the comfort and energy utilization of our client’s homes. When we add comfort to our suite of entertainment and security solutions for our clients’ projects, we are viewed as the experts in the overall home technology needs for our clients–and it’s likely your local competitor is not adding these items in their quotations. Such expertise on the total home will only enhance your reputation and your ability to close sales.